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Reconstruction Period Research Forum

AR-Anti-equity bill in Congress- 1868

Found at Making of America at Cornell Univ. site. --------------------------------------------------------------
Found at:

Title: Harper's new monthly magazine. / Volume 37, Issue 219
Publisher: Harper & Bros. Publication Date: August 1868

Monthly Record of Current Events (sic- in U.S. Congress)

The separate bills for the admission to rep-
resentation in Congress of Arkansas, and of the
five States of Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, North
Carolina, and South Carolina, passedhoth Houses,
in substance as noted in our last Record, (where,
however, by a clerical error, the name of Alabama
was substituted for Arkansas in the separate bilL)
Both bills were returned by the President without
his signature, and both were passed by more than
the required majority of two-thirds, and are now
laws. In his veto of the Arkansas bill (June 20)
the President gave in detail his objections. They
are in substance the same as heretofore present-
ed by him against the reconstruction scheme of
Congress. He could not, he says, "consent to
a bill which is based upon the asaumption either
that by an act of rebellion of a portion of its
people the State of Arkansas seceded from the
Union, or that Congress may at its pleasure
expel or exclude a State from the Union, or
interrupt its relations with the Government by
arbitrarily depriving it of representation in the
house of Representatives. If Arkansas is not
a State in the Union, this bill does not admit
it as a State into the Union. If, on the other
hand, Arkansas is a State in the Union, no legis-
lation is necessary to declare it entitled to repre-
sentation in Congress as one of the States of the
Union. All that is now necessary to restore Ar-
kansas in all its constitutional relations to the
Government is a decision by each house upon
the eligibility of those who, presenting their cre-
dentials, claim seats in the respective Houses of
Congress." The President objects, as unconsti-
tutional, to the provision of the bill which pre-
scribes that the Constitution shall never be so
amended as to deprive of the right to vote any
person who by the present Constitution is entitled
to the right of suffrage. He objects also to the
test oath of the Constitution of the State, in which
every voter swears, "I accept the civil and po-
litical equality of all men, and agree not to at-
tempt to deprive any person or persons, on ac-
count of race, color, or previous condition, of any
political, civil, or religious right, privilege, or im-
munity enjoyed by any other class of men." He
affirms that a very large proportion, if not a very
large majority, of the electors in all the States
"do not believe in or accept the practical equal-
ity of Indians, Mongolians, or negroes with the
race to which they belong." In vetoing the
"omnibus bill" for the admission of the other
States (June 24) the President refers to his mes-
sage in respect to Arkansas. This bill passed the
House, over the veto, by a vote of 105 to 110, and
the Senate by 25 to 8; the vote on the Arkansas
bill having been nearly the same.

On the 22d Messrs. MDonald and Rice, Sen-
ators-elect from Arkansas, appeared and were
sworn in. In the House the claims of Messrs.
Boles, Hinds, and Root, Representatives-elect,
were referred to the Committee on Elections,
who having next day reported in their favor, the re-
port was accepted by a vote of 101 to 27, and they
were sworn in. All the Democratic members of
the House, 45 in number, entered a solemn pro-
test against the recognized presence of three
persons on the floor of the House from the State
of Arkansas, sent here by military force acting
under a brigadier-general of the army, but nev-
ertheless claiming to be members of this Con-
gress, and to share with us, the Representatives
of free States, in the imposition of taxes and cus-
toms and other laws upon our people Coun-
seling and advising all friends of popular govern-
ment to submit to this force and violence upon
our Constitution and our people only until at the
ballot-box, operating through the elections, this
great wrong can be put right. There is, they
say, "no Government but Constitutional Gov-
ernment, and hence all bayonet-made, all Con-
gress-imposed Constitutions, are of no weight, au-
thority, or sanction, save that enforced by arms.
We protest against going into the now proposed
copartnership of military dictators and negroes
in the administration of this Government."


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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